Class of 2020: 

It’s safe to say many of us will never forget the year 2020. It may have been the start of a new decade, a new outlook on life, or just a plain old new year to repeat the same actions, but for me and many of my fellow classmates it was supposed to be the year of promise.

For the last four years (at minimum), we have put in the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to reach that final stage of hard work at Savannah State University all to obtain that one thing: a college degree. 

In the summer of 2016, I attended freshman orientation not really knowing what to expect. The only thing I knew for certain was that the next four years of my life would take place on this campus. We were told, “Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you will make it to graduation.”

Being the anxious person I am, I was definitely scared at the time of what would unfold. However, being that I am the one who has made it this far, I would say I beat the odds, and that can be said for every single student who was supposed to walk across that stage on May 9, 2020. 

Not one person can say they saw a postponement of this spring's commencement ceremony. Sure, schools have announced moving classes to online, businesses have decided to close temporarily, and leaders in government have made the decision to limit events with a certain number of people in attendance, but graduation ceremonies being cancelled?

I think I speak for the vast majority when I say we are highly upset. For one, walking across that stage is a moment and experience not everyone can say that have. Some students are first generation college students and to be able to get to this point in their college career could have been simply breaking generational curses. 

While we know it is out of our control, it is like the experience is being snatched from under us. Postponing the ceremony was inevitable, and we will eventually make that walk across the stage, but we will also never forget what was supposed to initially be our day. What personally upsets me, are the people who are taking to social media to express how they feel that we should not be upset. These very people are, in fact, people that have already graduated and gotten to walk across that very stage in Tiger Arena. It would be nice if they kept their opinions quiet and to themselves, because no matter what they say, we have the right to be upset. 

I say all of that to say this: It is not over by a long shot. We worked hard and went through those trials and tribulations to achieve a goal that not everyone can say they achieved. Receiving that college degree is still going to happen. We will take that walk, but until then, have faith and be proud of what you have accomplished thus far. I am proud of not only myself, but the class of 2020.

Be safe, wash those hands, and prepare to celebrate receiving that degree.

Sincerely,

Your fellow Tiger and graduating senior Kelsey Simmons 

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